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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 6:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Backes scratched for Blues

DALLAS -- After sustaining an upper-body injury late in a 6-5 shootout win Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues captain David Backes was scratched for a game Sunday afternoon with the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Backes, who is tied for the Blues lead in points with 30 (16 goals), logged 20:42 of ice time in the win against the Blackhawks.

St. Louis had two players who missed the Chicago game return to the ice: center Derek Roy, who missed the game due to illness, and center Vladimir Sobotka who was out with an upper-body injury.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 12:57 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars view Blues as another test

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars did not have a morning skate in advance of their game Sunday afternoon at American Airlines Center against the St. Louis Blues, but after practice Saturday, Stars coach Lindy Ruff talked about this being the latest measuring-stick game for his team.

"We know that they've been one of the top teams. They've been very consistent through the first 40 here, so we know we're going to have our hands full," Ruff said.

Dallas had three players absent from practice Saturday due to illness: center Cody Eakin, defenseman Alex Goligoski and forward Rich Peverley. Ruff said their status would be evaluated before the game, which starts at 5 p.m. local time.

But rookie wing Alex Chiasson, who missed the Stars' 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Friday with an illness, practiced Saturday and appears set to return.

"I'll go to the rink tomorrow and see how I feel," Chiasson told the Stars website Saturday. "You want to be part of this team. You want to be part of the success. It's tough sitting on the bike watching the guys play."

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Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 2:33 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars place Gonchar on injured reserve, activate Rome

DALLAS -- With Dallas Stars veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar going on injured reserve with concussion-like symptoms, coach Lindy Ruff will plug in Aaron Rome, who has played in just three games this season, against the Nashville Predators on Friday at American Airlines Center.

Rome was activated from injured reserve earlier Friday.

"[Gonchar] is still not feeling quite right so we've got to get him through that, and when we do he'll start to exercise again," Ruff said of Gonchar, who last played Dec. 21.

Rome last played Dec. 16 against the Colorado Avalanche but has missed Dallas' past four games with a lower-body injury.

"I've played a few games and I've played on some good teams, so it's just about getting back in and getting comfortable and playing and being urgent," Rome said. "I want to be bringing an element that can help the team and fit in seamlessly."

Kari Lehtonen will start in net for the Stars for a fourth consecutive game.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 1:51 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ruff keeping Stars' lines same; Alberts in for Canucks

DALLAS -- After the Dallas Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Tuesday at American Airlines Center, one night after a 6-3 loss to the Avalanche at Pepsi Center, Stars coach Lindy Ruff is keeping his lines and defensive pairings the same for a visit Thursday from the Vancouver Canucks.

"We had a complete turnaround where we did good things with the puck. We had people coming back and I thought all lines paid real good attention to detail," Ruff said.

However, one change for Dallas will be in net where starter Kari Lehtonen returns to the crease after Dan Ellis started Tuesday and made 25 saves to earn his fourth win of the season.

Lehtonen has struggled recently, going 2-3-3 with a 3.40 goals-against-average and a .902 save percentage in his past eight starts. However, Ruff doesn't sound concerned.

"He doesn't like his numbers in the last few games and I think it's one area that he knows he needs to clean up," Ruff said. "We've seen him play spectacular even when outshot and outplayed. But I'd expect a lot tighter game by our team and he knows he wants to be better."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 11:12 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars back home for second crack at Avalanche

After a solid 6-3 win on Saturday at Winnipeg, the Dallas Stars headed into their game Monday with the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center looking to finish their three-game Central Division road trip on a high note.

However, the Stars were overwhelmed by the speed of the Avalanche, who lit the lamp four times in the middle frame, including a goal with three seconds left to make it 5-1 heading into the second intermission.

"I think just as a team, we kind of got away from our game there," said Stars rookie defenseman Kevin Connauton, who had his first NHL goal late in the first period. "We handed them some easy chances and they've got so much skill up front that if you're going to give them looks like that they're going to bury them."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 2:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Quenneville confident Blackhawks' Raanta is ready

DALLAS -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will be sidelined about three weeks with a lower-body injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday.

Crawford was injured in the first period of the Blackhawks' game Sunday against the Florida Panthers and did not travel with his teammates to Dallas.

Antti Raanta replaced Crawford in the 6-2 win against the Panthers and will start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. Kent Simpson has been recalled from the American Hockey League to serve as the backup. Regular backup Nikolai Khabibulin is out with a lower-body injury.

Quenneville has no reservations about starting the rookie Raanta, who is 3-0-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average.

"Well, he's handled it well. He's been in the net. Game's been on the line, he's been solid for us. Just moving forward, you like his approach, you like his competitiveness," Quenneville said. "He's a battler. It'll be a good test for him as well."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ellis gets start for Stars against Flyers

DALLAS -- Dan Ellis is the starting goaltender for the Dallas Stars in an afternoon game with the Philadelphia Flyers at American Airlines Center. Ellis, who is 2-3-0 with a 3.52 goals-against average, is making his sixth start of the season for Dallas.

Kari Lehtonen had started the previous four games for the Stars. Ellis' last start came on Nov. 26 when he stopped 28 of 31 shots in a 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Steve Mason is in goal for the Flyers.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers' Couturier hopes to continue hot play in Dallas

DALLAS -- Three days after posting his first four-point game in a 6-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier is hoping to continue his hot play as he and the Flyers visit the Dallas Stars Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center. Hoping to continue his hot hand, Couturier is also celebrating his 21st birthday Saturday. So another big game would only enhance the celebration.

Any plans for practice on Friday were halted when Dallas was hit by a major snowstorm, causing power outages and dangerous roads. So instead of skating, the Flyers opted for a workout at their hotel.

"I've seen weather like this in a lot of places, but in the other places they have trucks and vehicles that take care of the roads," Flyers coach Craig Berube told the team web site. "In Dallas they're not prepared for it."

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Posted On Sunday, 12.01.2013 / 6:16 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars' Seguin out with concussion-like symptoms

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin, who leads the team with 12 goals, will miss the game Sunday night against the Edmonton Oilers due to concussion-like symptoms. Seguin, who joined Dallas in a July 4 trade with the Boston Bruins, had been called a game-time decision earlier in the day by Stars coach Lindy Ruff.

Seguin had missed two practices earlier in the week with what was termed a muscle issue, but he appeared to be fine in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at American Airlines Center.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.01.2013 / 11:54 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Seguin a game-time decision for Stars

DALLAS -- After being held out of practice twice earlier in the week with what was termed a muscle issue, Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin is a game-time decision, Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Sunday morning.

Dallas, hosting the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center in a game with a 5 p.m. CT start time, did not skate Sunday due to the early start, but Ruff addressed the media briefly outside the locker room following a short team meeting.

Seguin, who came over in a July 4 trade with the Boston Bruins, currently leads Dallas with 12 goals and is second on the team with 23 points. He was also held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but skated in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday in his customary spot on the Stars’ top line apparently with no issue.

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley